Colorado Republicans were hoping to retake the Governor’s Mansion in 2010. Governor Bill Ritter was in trouble. He had stumbled politically during his first term when disenchantment with President Obama deepened his problems after last fall’s health care battle.
But, the good news for Democrats was that Ritter dropped out of re-election; it made popular two-term Mayor John Hickenlooper the Democratic candidate. The race has remained close between Republican frontrunner Scott McInnis, with the lead exchanging hands, but remaining within six points.
Both candidates are well-known, with only 9 percent of voters not identifying Hickenlooper, but 14 percent unable to rate McInnis on a favorability rating. Hickenlooper’s main political asset is a friendly and positive personality that is well-known in the Denver metro area (about 55 percent of the state’s voters). More than a quarter of voters state that they have a very favorable view of him whereas McInnis has 17 percent of voters in the very favorable category.
Democrats are currently running about 5 points or so behind Republicans in the Colorado November election. So, Democrats must run smarter, better funded races. Hickenlooper reported out-fundraising McInnis in the first quarter of the year by about 2-to-1, with a one million dollar haul for the mayor.
Floyd Ciruli founded Ciruli Associates, a research and consulting firm specializing in public policy, community and cultural affairs and strategic planning, in 1985. Clients include major Colorado corporations, business and civic associations.
Ciruli is a pollster and political analyst for 9-KUSA TV, KOA Radio and The Denver Post. Most recently, he has appeared on NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, Lehrer News Hour, CNN with John King, Fox News Special Report, National Public Radio and the BBC.
Ciruli holds a law degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and a bachelor’s degree in political science from UCLA. Ciruli is a member of the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR). He is Past-President of the Pacific Chapter of AAPOR. Ciruli is a board member of the Social Science Foundation of the University of Denver Josef Korbel School of International Studies, the Georgetown Law Alumni Board and the Past-President of the Denver Athletic Club. He is a native of Pueblo, Colorado.